One of my mentors, Phillip Lloyd Powel, said to me early in my career “if you always do your best, you will never be bored with your work”. I took it to heart, and it’s still exciting to this day.
Building a dining table that will serve as a gathering place for families and friends for countless generations is a deep source of satisfaction for me.
In the forty plus years I’ve been designing and building furniture from rare solid woods, I’ve learned some hard lessons. Most importantly, never compromise the quality of my work even if it results in reducing my profit. There have been many times in my career when I have felt the temptation to disregard this rule, but instead I have always maintained my high standards and feel tremendous pride in the work.
To further your understanding I will share some basic knowledge of my craft.
The slabs must be properly dried; air dried for at least one year, then slow kiln dried for as long as three months and briefly kilned at a higher temperature. This is a slow and costly procedure requiring skills specific to the large slabs.
If a slab is improperly dried it will crack and warp with seasonal changes in temperature and humidity. I know this firsthand from my first years as a furniture craftsman when I used improperly seasoned wood and saw the disappointing consequences.
Under each of my book matched slabs you will see multiple butterfly inlays along the center joint. This insures that, over many years, the joint will not separate. Finish is hand rubbed about seven times equally to the top and slab underside insuring that seasonal moisture exchange is uniform on the top and bottom. This prevents stresses that otherwise can result in warping or cracking.
I personally travel to trusted mills, and from hundreds of choices, select the most beautiful slabs. It’s one of the great pleasures of my work. The beauty of these treasures of nature varies greatly and the ones I pick are only the best.
The base of the dining table should set the slab like a gem without compromising functionality. In my forty plus years of designing I’ve filled hundreds of drawing pads with exploratory sketching, finished drawings, and resultant specifications.
A great design is a balance of art and engineering. The art is a talent that must be developed by years of intense focus – drawing, model making, prototypes, sharpening the eye. The engineering, too, is a talent that must be honed. Here, again, there is the added dimension of profitability vs. quality. It is imperative that the understructure of the base is sufficiently substantial to insure the durability of the design for many generations.
To my supportive customers throughout the years I would like to express my gratitude for giving me the opportunity to achieve my goal in producing the finest furniture I can from some of the most beautiful natural resources in the world.